Today, I'd like to provide a brief statement outlining how the RCMP is responding to the evolving situation in Nova Scotia related to the lobster fishery, including how we are responding to the related criminal activities.
I will begin by assuring the people of Nova Scotia – and all Canadians – that we are fully committed to keeping the peace, keeping people safe and enforcing the law.
The role of the RCMP is to uphold public safety, including the protection of persons and property. Our actions to date are indicative of our strong commitment to this mandate.
As many others have done, I will also use this opportunity to strongly encourage calm and engagement in peaceful and constructive dialogue. It is only through respectful discussion will we see the easing of tension and most importantly the path to resolution.
The RCMP has been fully engaged in this issue since mid September when tensions began to escalate between First Nations and other fishers. Our goal has been and will continue to be to ensure lawful, peaceful dialogue and resolution.
The RCMP has a significant presence in the Meteghan area including uniformed ground resources, Divisional liaison teams and dedicated investigative teams.
The command team in Nova Scotia – supported by National Headquarters – is closely monitoring the situation. It is fluid and dynamic and we will reallocate and reprioritize resources should the situation warrant. And as we did in recent days, we will mobilize RCMP officers from neighbouring RCMP divisions to augment resources on the ground should the need arise to keep communities safe.
When people resort to violence and criminal activities to express their displeasure with a situation or towards a specific group, the RCMP's increased involvement is necessary as part of the effort to maintain peace and order, and to uphold the law.
Unfortunately, there have been those that have engaged in criminal behaviour. As is widely known, there have been several instances of violent and destructive criminal acts in recent weeks. I condemn these actions.
The Nova Scotia RCMP has launched investigations into a number of incidents with two people already charged including the assault against Chief Sack. Suspects have been identified in the other incidents. Investigations are ongoing and I encourage anyone with any information to contact the Nova Scotia RCMP.
I can assure you that if and when criminal actions are pursued, the RCMP will investigate.
I am fully confident in the ability of RCMP members on the ground to keep people safe, keep the peace and investigate criminal acts and hold perpetrators to account.
We all want the same thing – a peaceful resolution to this dispute. All parties must come together for this to happen. This includes the RCMP, local/provincial/federal Governments and all members of the community.